Christodoulos Giallouridis, Professor of International Politics at Pantion University of Athens, on Tuesday told CNN Greek editorial interview about the latest developments in the Ukrainian crisis and especially about the role of Vladimir Putin.
Mr. Giallouridis ruled out the possibility of a war between Ukraine and Russia, saying that “the stakes on peace in these difficult times are very high.”
“We must remember that Ukraine is to Russia what the Aegean is to Greece. This is an important place for the existence of the Russian nation. “The Russian nation was actually born in Ukraine,” he emphasizes.
According to Mr. Giallouridis, “President Putin’s policy is to achieve peace through containment. In other words, he is maximizing his pressure and his ability to impose peace, even through hostilities that act as a deterrent strategy, in order to achieve Ukraine’s non-alignment with NATO and other Western institutions.”
Wanting to justify President Putin’s overall position on the Ukrainian crisis, Professor Giallouridis contrasts the position of contemporary Russia with what happened in the near past.
“Today’s Russia is not the same as during Yeltsin’s time. This is a strong country and a world power with authority and the ability to impose its will, and both Americans and Europeans know this. Only they do not understand that Russia’s strategic past is very important for European security. Therefore, the whole struggle that is taking place now is not to lead to a flare-up of the conflict, but first of all, it is not to strike at the international world by actions – both by Russia and by the Western factor, ”said the respected scientist.
He adds: “I think everything that’s going on is just a game of containment. In other words, Putin, who is a strategic player, extremely capable and well acquainted with Western and European strategy, knows that Europe does not have its own political strategy, except perhaps for France, which is not aggressive towards Russia.”
In these circumstances, according to Christodoulos Giallouridis, “at the moment we are facing a game of containment, where Putin has his own strategy, and the Western factor follows him, but it is fragmented, because not everyone has the same approach.”
“War cannot start at a meeting and unexpectedly”
Asked by CNN whether we would face an armed conflict on the Russian-Ukrainian border, in the wake of statements by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that Russian troops are expected to invade on February 16, Christodoulos Giallou replied that “war cannot start at a meeting unexpectedly.”
“These are all tactical moves. There is no reason for an American-Western conflict with Moscow, because that would lead to an extremely dangerous escalation. The stakes in the world are really high right now, and Westerners need to be very careful because they also measure the personality of a leader. Putin is not Gorbachev. This is a scheme that operates on the basis of Russian interests and an extremely high level of deterrence. He is trustworthy in what he says.”
“I am convinced that everything will work out, and Putin will not back down from what he is doing, because the territory he claims is as important to Russia as the Aegean Sea is to Greece. Kiev cannot join the west, dot and hyphen. “The conflict will be avoided because the strength of both sides, especially Russia, allows and ensures peace.”
The main problem is the lack of a unified European policy
According to Christodoulos Giallouridis, the most serious problem that EU must cope at the moment is the “lack of a common European policy.”
“This fact, especially in the case of a problem that is exclusively European. We cannot continue to exist as a politically non-existent continent, and this is what European institutions need to see.”